Jupiter’s icy moon Europa may glow in the dark

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa could give the word “moonlight” a whole new meaning. New lab experiments suggest the nightside of this moon glows in the dark. Europa’s surface, thought to be mostly water ice laced with various salts, is continually bombarded with energetic electrons by Jupiter’s intense magnetic field (SN: 5/19/15). When researchers simulated that […]

‘Sprites’ and ‘elves’ may light up Jupiter’s atmosphere like Earth’s

Jupiter may be the first planet besides Earth known to host atmospheric light shows called “sprites” or “elves.” Sprites (SN: 6/14/02) and elves (SN: 12/23/95) are two kinds of atmospheric glows that form when lightning alters the electromagnetic environment in the atmosphere above a storm. On Earth, these electromagnetic upsets cause nitrogen molecules in the […]